Post editing ability June 28, 2008 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Can I haz a pomy^D^Dny? 60 second editing.

Hey guys,

It would be super duper if Meta would implement a feature like Digg has where I can post a comment, and then for the next 60 seconds or so (even say 3 minutes) I can edit that post. I frequently find myself thinking OH YEA! after I post, and adding a short amendment to my original post.
posted by SirStan to Feature Requests at 8:49 PM (79 comments total)

That's a good idea.

Um, I'm not so sure.
posted by box at 8:54 PM on June 28, 2008


no
posted by killdevil at 8:55 PM on June 28, 2008


I know it has been talked about in the past, and personally I would like it. But a good counter argument is... well we have live preview and a static preview as well...
posted by edgeways at 8:55 PM on June 28, 2008


The machine gun nests come alive.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:56 PM on June 28, 2008


why not preview before posting your comment?
posted by phredgreen at 8:56 PM on June 28, 2008


I'm torn about this one. On the one hand, it seems useful. On the other hand, it's seems like a coding nightmare (is there a timer counting down? what happens if the user is in the midst of editing when the clock runs out? what happens if it's used to send out digs, then erase them? does the user get to see the rest of the thread while editing?), with the potential for major user abuse.

On the other hand, can't ya just get it right the first time or post another comment?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 PM on June 28, 2008


phredgreen: The same reason I don't regret buying a new car until I have signed my name on the lease papers. Theres something magical about committing that just cant be replicated until there's no chance to change it.

If the feature was unneeded -- it would simply not be used. But for those of us who do want it, it shouldn't be that bad to implement.
posted by SirStan at 9:00 PM on June 28, 2008



I'm torn about this one. On the one hand, it seems useful. On the other hand, it's seems like a coding nightmare (is there a timer counting down? what happens if the user is in the midst of editing when the clock runs out? what happens if it's used to send out digs, then erase them? does the user get to see the rest of the thread while editing?), with the potential for major user abuse.

The way Digg did it (I havent posted there in ages) is there was a timer. Say you posted at 10:00:00, clicked edit at 10:00:10, it would calculate say 360 seconds from 10:00:00, so when the form loaded at 10:00:15 it would display 345 seconds left to edit. You could use simple javascript to determine when the post was allowed to be used. If you posted too late, you get a "SORRY YOU SUCK" message.

The 360 seconds from original post (not unlimited posting) limits the possibility of abuse.
posted by SirStan at 9:02 PM on June 28, 2008


I think this is a great idea. Would (hopefully) minimize the "oops I meant x_spelled_correctly" and the "OH AND ANOTHER THING" posts.

But the db hit might be bad.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2008


the db: I'd hit it.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:47 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


blue_beetle writes "the db: {redacted}"

Whee, almost 8 hours.

And on a fast moving thread 3 minutes is a long time. Really how is the preview button less permanent than a editable window?
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 PM on June 28, 2008


I highly doubt an ALTER statement shouldn't be THAT much of a database hit.

ALTER posts SET content = "Oops nevermind im just stupid" where post_id = 34343;
posted by SirStan at 9:56 PM on June 28, 2008


Cooter Timer: reset.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:57 PM on June 28, 2008


The edit button -- I'd hit it -- if there was one.
posted by SirStan at 9:58 PM on June 28, 2008


Re: And on a fast moving thread 3 minutes is a long time.

How about, 360 seconds, as long as no subsequent post has been made.

Really how is the preview button less permanent than a editable window?

The same way saying "I'll take the car" is different from signing the lease form.
posted by SirStan at 10:02 PM on June 28, 2008


If you're making mistakes in a submitted post, you are likely to make mistakes in subsequent revisions. Your mistakes will compound with each revision until your post is so incredibly riddled with typos, errors and omissions that your posts will be mocked into deletion by the grammar guard.

I propose, in the spirit of Pronovost's Checklist, the MeFi Post checklist.

[ ] Searched for doubles?
[ ] Not a self-link?
[ ] Not a newsfilter?
[ ] Not an axegrindfilter?
[ ] Tested links?
[ ] Proofread for typos?
[ ] Proofread for spelling?
[ ] Proofread for quality?

Completing this or a similar checklist before posting should eliminate the vast majority of mistakes.
posted by _aa_ at 10:15 PM on June 28, 2008


I've said before I'd actually like this and use this, and we talked about coding up a beta last week even, so yeah, we'll do this eventually and put lots of safeguards in place to make sure people don't abuse it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:15 PM on June 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Well, if Digg has this feature...

I'd also like my profile picture (possibly miniaturized) to appear next to all of my comments, please, like Ask Yahoo! and other more modern web sites.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:28 PM on June 28, 2008


That wouldn't be professional, unlike our white background.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:37 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally, I don't like any feature which encourages members to comment without carefully reading what they've written. Indeed, I suspect the quality of comments would rise slightly if there was no 'Preview' button and everyone know that once you had clicked 'Post', your words would live forever.

Though I know there would be lots of doubles.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:55 AM on June 29, 2008


"we'll do this eventually and put lots of safeguards in place to make sure people don't abuse it"

... a shuffling sound as the ears of a thousand supervillains twitch and attend.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 1:42 AM on June 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've said before I'd actually like this and use this, and we talked about coding up a beta last week even, so yeah, we'll do this

Yay!
posted by timeistight at 1:52 AM on June 29, 2008


I support adding the feature, as long as I get retroactive immunity for all past typos.
posted by knave at 1:57 AM on June 29, 2008


Jest tipe it rite the first time and than ther's not a problem! I don't no why its such a big deal to prevue so your not making dum errers.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:52 AM on June 29, 2008


mathowie: "I've said before I'd actually like this and use this, and we talked about coding up a beta last week even, so yeah, we'll do this eventually and put lots of safeguards in place to make sure people don't abuse it."

There are not enough safeguards in all the world to prevent a group of people as clever and devious as the MeFi user base from abusing this, just because they can. I think you will live to regret doing this, although I hope not. Apart from deliberate hacks, people will be replying to comments as they are being edited and threads will end up making even less sense than they do now.

One of the good things about MeFi is that there is no back button - people have to either think carefully before they commit a comment or live with the consequences.
posted by dg at 3:28 AM on June 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


No. Hell, preview is already overkill, and we've got two of those.

Why not just READ your post before posting?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:05 AM on June 29, 2008


Can we also ban the word "nth"?
posted by loiseau at 4:26 AM on June 29, 2008


How about thinking before you hit post? Re-read, make sure you've got everything you wanted to say in there, proofread, then hit post. An edit function rewards thoughtlessness.
posted by Eideteker at 4:50 AM on June 29, 2008


Yeah, but so does my mom.
posted by cgc373 at 5:35 AM on June 29, 2008


Er, I meant your mom.
posted by cgc373 at 5:35 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This has come up before. Not likely to happen.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:40 AM on June 29, 2008


Psst, Joseph Gurl.
posted by cgc373 at 6:15 AM on June 29, 2008


Wait. If mathowie says it'll happen but Joseph Gurl insists it won't, who am I to believe? Joseph Gurl is like the fifth Beatle mod, right?
posted by kate blank at 6:34 AM on June 29, 2008


Personally, I don't like any feature which encourages members to comment without carefully reading what they've written.

I agree, but apparently mathowie doesn't, so I guess we'll get to see how it works. I personally think dg is right.
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on June 29, 2008


You know what? That blink tag is annoying the shit out of me. Sorry about that, folks.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:14 AM on June 29, 2008


I think you will live to regret doing this, although I hope not.

Dude! Maybe you don't like the feature but that's no reason to wish he was dead.

Sheesh.
posted by Ryvar at 7:18 AM on June 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know what? That blink tag is annoying the shit out of me. Sorry about that, folks.

If only you could edit it.
posted by knave at 7:20 AM on June 29, 2008


The 360 seconds from original post (not unlimited posting) limits the possibility of abuse.

That's six minutes. An asshole can do a lot in six minutes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 AM on June 29, 2008


...as long as no subsequent post has been made.

That sounds like it would help a lot. Also I think that if the comment footer had a link to the original text of the comment, that would add transparency to the whole deal.

I think if people are held accountable for the pre-edit text the same way they're held accountable for any old comment, it will lower the temptation to "hide" sub-text in the pre-edited comment area. So this would be less of a temptation:

PRE-EDIT: User-X is a fool
POST-EDIT: I value User-X's contribution.
posted by popechunk at 7:47 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also think dg is right. I can't see how it could help, and can imagine plenty of confusion and paranoia as the ways in which it could hurt (I swear he called me a [slur here] in that last comment and now it's gone and I can't prove it)...

When a thread is rolling along, white-hot, people are refreshing continually. People will see the original comment, start reacting, and by the time they post will be reacting to an edited comment. It would be nutty.

Personally, I don't like any feature which encourages members to comment without carefully reading what they've written. Indeed, I suspect the quality of comments would rise slightly if there was no 'Preview' button and everyone know that once you had clicked 'Post', your words would live forever.

Might be true. Interestingly, at MetaChat, there is a mandatory preview - you can't go from typing right to the "Post" button. The mandatory preview phase seems to stall the user a bit, which may be one reason that things stay slightly (only slightly) more civil in heated discussion - you get a few seconds' grace period in which to think "do I really want to post that?" Forcing the preview and only offering it have surprisingly different effects.

But either convention serves the same purpose: getting users in the habit of understanding that are committed to their words once they post. That, I think, is a very good thing.
posted by Miko at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2008


Ditto all that, Miko.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2008


This is a stupid idea. Mathowie is a fool1 for considering it

This a great idea. I'm glad that our wise1 and beloved1 leader has chosen this path for the people.2

[1] Just foolin', Matt. You're A-1 in my book, even though I don't like this idea.
[2] How can anyone not like the
BLINK tag?!
posted by SteveTheRed at 9:34 AM on June 29, 2008


This is excellent for posts, not so much for comments. It's by the typos we can tell who to trust.
posted by carsonb at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would (hopefully) minimize the "oops I meant x_spelled_correctly" and the "OH AND ANOTHER THING" posts.

*shrug* Is this a causing some sort of huge problem?

I'm with Miko -- there'll be a lot of reply-post-WTF pwned by the edit!
posted by desuetude at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2008


This is excellent for posts, not so much for comments.

Also, this.
posted by desuetude at 10:03 AM on June 29, 2008


Oh yeah, just for posts would be cool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on June 29, 2008


If the edited comment links to a page containing the original version of the comment, folks confused by subsequent comments referring to the original version won't be. (Some newspapers include links to edited stories as they originally appeared.)
posted by sdodd at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2008


I'm pretty much in the don't-see-the-need camp, but I'm also a lot less pessimistic about implementation than I used to be. Keeping a clear record of edits seems like the key anti-abuse issue, whether that record is public or not: I don't think it's unreasonable to say that malicious use of the edit feature = enforced week off, or example.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:15 AM on June 29, 2008


I would really really really like for this to happn because I'm a really hrible speller who really should pay closer attention to how he really constructs his sentences, which I always notice right after I've send a comment off.
posted by krautland at 11:31 AM on June 29, 2008


Yes, every edit must be preserved wiki-style, if this actually happens. I personally think it's a terrible idea, but if it must be done, save every version. I would prefer if all edits were visible to the userbase, but then again... I'm a user.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 12:25 PM on June 29, 2008


Perhaps only additions and small edits could be allowed, to prevent massive changes and deletions of the scale that would simply warrant a new comment.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2008


Ryvar: "I think you will live to regret doing this, although I hope not.
Dude! Maybe you don't like the feature but that's no reason to wish he was dead.
Sheesh.
"

Non, no, no - I don't wish he were dead, because then he wouldn't get the chance to regret implementing this. Sheesh.

Miko: "... Interestingly, at MetaChat, there is a mandatory preview - you can't go from typing right to the "Post" button. The mandatory preview phase seems to stall the user a bit, which may be one reason that things stay slightly (only slightly) more civil in heated discussion - you get a few seconds' grace period in which to think "do I really want to post that?" Forcing the preview and only offering it have surprisingly different effects..."
That used to be the case here, but it didn't help make things more civil. It probably made things worse, because the response times were slower in those white-hot threads, so comments got crossed more often.

While I think this is a bad idea, I'm pretty hopeful wishful sure that mathowie has all these things in mind and has figured out at least 99% solutions for them - no system is perfect and some will abuse even the most innocuous feature, as we have seen. I still think it's a nett downgrade in the way the site works, but that's just me (well, me and a few others, but even together we have no say).
posted by dg at 1:49 PM on June 29, 2008


Draft, preview, think about it for sixty seconds, preview, post.
posted by Phanx at 2:15 PM on June 29, 2008


Y'all really don't need to worry so much. Post editing is possible on the vast majority of Web message boards and the world hasn't stopped turning yet. There will be abuses only on the scale that there have always been abuses of the site, which because our moderators are so fantastic, is apparently little.
posted by loiseau at 2:22 PM on June 29, 2008


Can we also ban the word "nth"?

Why hasn't anyone nthed this suggestion??
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:40 PM on June 29, 2008


Hey, any all-consonant word is a-okay with me.

Unrelatedly, who wants to play Scrabble?
posted by box at 2:44 PM on June 29, 2008


This would only work if no one could see your comment until the edit time expired.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:18 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


A better idea would be to just email all of the admins, constantly, for every single little edit you'd like done to everything you've ever posted. I mean, fuck do those guys do anyway? Sit around eating Crunchy Nut corn flakes and watching Letterman interviews on YouTube as far as I can tell. (Oh, props to the people in that recent AskMe thread who recommended Amy Sedaris on The Late Show - total lollercaust.)
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:48 PM on June 29, 2008


Can we also ban the word "nth"?

Why hasn't anyone nthed this suggestion??


Stop being disingenuous.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:49 PM on June 29, 2008


nthing dg and Miko.

(take that, loiseau.

(on actually reading the last four or five comments - What. The. Fuck. turgid dahlia?)
posted by Phire at 7:01 PM on June 29, 2008


I'm in favor of this feature with a proviso: include revision-tracking, perhaps invoked just by hovering over a comment for a second. It would be freaking hilarious to see the backing-and-forthing, people using the revision-tracking as a way to embed secret messages, parallel conversations, etc.

Seriously, I think post editing is a good idea, but only with a really short window.
posted by adamrice at 7:18 PM on June 29, 2008


Fuck ya'll naysayers. I got my fucking pony. Thanks Mathowe. I love you.
posted by SirStan at 7:18 PM on June 29, 2008


What. The. Fuck. turgid dahlia?

I don't actually really think the mods do nothing but sit around eating Crunchy Nut. If anything, it's probably Frosites.

posted by turgid dahlia at 8:27 PM on June 29, 2008


I think turgid dahlia is just davy-tastic.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 PM on June 29, 2008


Up here in God's Country, we call 'em "Frosted Flakes".
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2008


Corn flakes are way better. The same crunch, now with 80% less cavities!
posted by Phire at 8:58 PM on June 29, 2008


Jez: Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are just Frosties for wankers.

Mark: Frosties are just Cornflakes for people who can't face reality.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:05 PM on June 29, 2008


Post editing is possible on the vast majority of Web message boards and the world hasn't stopped turning yet.

Good point. Now, what else can we do to similarize MetaFilter with the vast majority of Web message boards?

I sprinkle a few spoonfuls of Reality on my Frosty Flakes every morning, cavities be damned.
posted by carsonb at 5:43 AM on June 30, 2008


I'm in favor of this feature with a proviso: include revision-tracking

I'd love to see version tracking for all comment versions and deletions, whether by the the commenter or by the mods.
posted by timeistight at 9:13 AM on June 30, 2008


You wanted a pony...
posted by deborah at 10:31 AM on June 30, 2008


Sadness. As it is, my typos stand in lasting mockery of my poor proofreading. At least I have the comfort of knowing that I was fatalistic and considerate enough to simply leave them be, without an annoying correction addendum, confident that everyone knows you can't fix them anyway. Now my humiliation will be increased by the evidence that not only did I make an idiotic typo in the first place, but I was so lame I did not manage to fix it, even though I had another chance.
posted by cairnish at 10:55 AM on June 30, 2008


Stop being disingenuous.

Never! Nor will I stop being fatuous, Jeffery.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:26 PM on June 30, 2008


Alternative pony: let us turn off live preview.
posted by oaf at 2:15 PM on June 30, 2008


What oaf said: live preview without a chance to see what's been posted in the meantime or double-check for ty0ps is the real issue here. The SpoFi approach works for me, even without its post-submit takeback period.

(And the 'new comments while you were composing your magnum opus' AJAXy thing isn't a solution: it's a flaky server killer.)
posted by holgate at 2:44 PM on June 30, 2008


I'm amazed no one is saying this:

What a horrendously bad idea. There is no really pressing need for this feature beyond fairly simple convenience; 'oh yeah!' thoughts work fine in their own comments, last I noticed, unless you're bent on minimizing your comment count. I guess some people are.

Whereas the bad impact on conversation flow should be large. I don't know what safeguards matt has in mind, but it's hard to imagine what kind of safeguards could be put in place to prevent the weirdness that will almost invariably follow when someone can change 'you're a fucking moron' to 'I respect you, and don't understand why you're attacking me.' But the threat from abuse probably wouldn't even begin to match the threat from simple confusion. I mean, fuck, "on preview" as a vernacular phrase referring to the experience of not seeing what was posted as one was commenting oneself will spawn a multitude of confusing variations. "Oh, yeah, I didn't see that you'd already said that." I guess we'll be marking the added text, or cluttering up comments by showing what was edited? Or will we all have to guess if we're either insane or if it really didn't say that before when we were commenting? Not to mention the long, drawn-out conversations we'll soon be having about the proper etiquette, etc.

The only good thing about this is that those of us who keep pointing out spelling errors will soon be made fools of.

Ah, well. I guess Digg did it, right? And they have incredible conversations over there, so I'm sure my whole concern is bullshit.

At the very least, the time limit should be something like fifteen seconds, and safeguards should involve blocking major changes. This should be for fixing errors, not substantially changing a comment. (Although it seems like it's almost impossible to block substantial changes, given the large difference one letter can make.)
posted by koeselitz at 2:57 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


SirStan: Fuck ya'll naysayers. I got my fucking pony. Thanks Mathowe. I love you.

You do realize it's been more than sixty seconds at this point, right? There's no going back on that comment now, unfortunately.
posted by koeselitz at 3:04 PM on June 30, 2008


Works well on SportsFilter. I like it.
posted by terrapin at 4:06 PM on June 30, 2008


koeselitz: didn't a bunch of people say that? Also, that?
posted by desuetude at 9:42 PM on June 30, 2008


_aa_: are those checkboxes that need to be checked before the post is postable? because that's a lot of boxes to check... I'd suggest a "select all" (or perhaps "select all then post") button to streamline the UI...
posted by russm at 6:41 PM on July 1, 2008


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